Posted by on Aug 27, 2009 in Family, Health, Mom stuff, Personal | 17 comments

My baby is in surgery right now, and though they’ve given me
the update that “everything is going well and she’s doing fine,” my baby is in surgery right now.

I inhale fully and hold the breath.

It’s not because of illness or disease, it’s just routine oral
surgery; impacted wisdom teeth and bone grafts for future dental implants
(she’s missing three permanent teeth and requires additional bone to sustain
the titanium rods that will one day set off airport metal detectors). 

But when you’re a mama and your 17-year-old first born is
scared because of the needles and pain and oozing blood and stitches, is there
anything “just routine” about it? 

If I could, I’d do it for her.  I’d like nothing more than to insulate all my children from
the pain life can bring—physical or emotional.  But that wouldn’t serve them well at all, so I’m glad not to
be given the option. 

While we waited for her procedure to begin—delayed close to
an hour because her surgeon was called away for hospital trauma consults—I
tried to occupy time and space with stories of my own childhood
experiences.  When my wisdom teeth
were extracted, I remember a framed latch-work duck on the wall.  It was late 70s ugly, tangerine and pea
green, and it should’ve been replaced years before my surgery.  It was the last thing I saw before
nodding off to “sleep,” and I distinctly recall asking “How long will it
take…” because I was worried the anesthesia wasn’t going to work for me and
I’d be awake and aware during the entire procedure.

Of course, the next thing I remember was groggily waking up
in recovery.

Rachel asked the same thing, ready to get it started, but
mostly over.  We’ve known for years
implants were in her future, and this is one step in a series to restoring her
smile.  I wonder 30 years from now what she'll remember about today.

We were shocked to learn she was required to take a
pregnancy test—what the heck does that have to do with your mouth???  (But of course, it deals with
undergoing anesthesia.)  Anyone who
knows my daughter understand why this was comic relief for both of us—Rachel has
never dated.  The poor girl didn’t
even know what was involved with a pregnancy test—she thought she was going to
have to endure her first pelvic exam by a freakin’ oral surgeon!—so when she
learned it was a urine test, her relief was audible.

My prayers for her have been less about wisdom and skill for
the doctor, minimal pain and a speedy recovery, and more about her heart being
calmed.  That surprised her, but I
know this child, the things she fears. 
She understands her mind is her battlefield; I didn’t learn that until
my 30s.

Rachel pre-surgery Levity helped unrattle her nerves…we took pictures of her in
hospital gown with thermo strip across her forehead and texted them to her
friends; I freaked her out with my labor and delivery stories; I told her how
loopy her dad was when he had his wisdom teeth out a few years ago and that I’d
video her for our amusement. 

Laughter temporarily anesthetizes the nerves.

Every time the surgical suite door opens, I’m compelled to
look up.  Minutes are no longer 60
seconds, I’m sure they’re closer to 300. 
This has taken twice as long as they told us it would, and while reports
keep coming back that “she’s fine…everything is okay…”

 …m.y. b.a.b.y. i.s. i.n. s.u.r.g.e.r.y. r.i.g.h.t. n.o.w. 

 And my lungs (and heart) won’t exhale until I can put my
hands on my child again.